The story of the Detroit Lions defense in 2022 has been that of two halves, with their recent turnaround raising eyebrows and raising expectations. This team has shown that they can compete with anyone, even a 10-2 team like the Minnesota Vikings. However, we knew that already, with the Lions taking the Vikings down to the wire in Week 3 before falling 28-24.
That was before the Lions’ recent defensive turnaround, and that spells trouble for Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins on Sunday.
Bold prediction of the week: Lions intercept Kirk Cousins twice to propel them past Vikings
Kirk Cousins plays a very clean game of football, and that has been a huge part of the Vikings’ success this year. Although he has nine interceptions on the year, five of those came in two games against the Eagles and the Bills—one of their two losses, and an overtime win, respectively. Forcing Cousins to make mistakes is the key to victory for the Lions Sunday.
Lucky for them, they’re in a position to do so. Last time these two teams met, Kirk Cousins posted his second-lowest QBR of the season at 32.2, and star receiver Justin Jefferson was limited to just three catches for 14 yards. Although the Lions weren’t able to take the ball away, they neutralized Cousins’ best weapons, and that was almost enough to get past Minnesota.
That was also with Juju Hughes and DeShon Elliott leading the Lions’ back end, as well as Amani Oruwariye getting picked on as CB2. The Lions now enter Sunday’s game with Kerby Joseph playing arguably at a Pro Bowl level, and Jerry Jacobs locking down the CB2 spot since his return to the lineup. Aidan Hutchinson is wreaking havoc in backfields, while John Cominsky manhandles the interior, and the Lions’ linebacking corps has made plays, too.
The Lions find themselves in very good shape to take on the Vikings offense. We’ve seen that they are vulnerable, especially after their 40-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys just three weeks ago. A stronger front four—including the rise of James Houston and the expected return of Romeo Okwara—could force Cousins into uncomfortable throws, and a secondary that has taken on a new identity since these teams last met is in prime position to feast on those throws.
It’s still very much up in the air how Sunday goes, but the defense that folded in Week 3 is in much better position to play a complete game Sunday and take the ball away from Cousins not just once, but multiple times.